October 19, 2011

Waking Life was ten years ago (2001-50AD-2011)


It was always my hope, in writing novels and stories which asked the question “What is reality?”, to someday get an answer. This was the hope of most of my readers, too. Years passed. I wrote over 30 novels and over a hundred stories, and still I could not figure out what was real. One day a girl college student in Canada asked me to define reality for her, for a paper she was writing for her philosophy class. She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” That’s all I could come up with. That was back in 1972. Since then I haven’t been able to define reality any more lucidly.

...

I have gazed at a constantly changing world and declared that underneath it lies the eternal, the unchanging, the absolutely real. But how has this come about? If the real time is circa AD 50, then why do we see AD 1978? And if we are really living in the Roman Empire, somewhere in Syria, why do we see the United States?

Philip K Dick, How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later, 1978.